Ever since the importance of protecting high dollar Quarterbacks became in fashion, the Left Tackle, or the protector of said Quarterback’s "Blind Side," has come to the forefront and might just be the 2nd-most important position on any football team. In the Salary Cap Era of the NFL, balancing the expense budget is more than just a survival tool, it’s a requirement.
The Denver Broncos have one of the better pair of Tackles in the league and Ryan Clady, their 2-Time All-Pro Left Tackle, has outplayed his rookie deal and is searching for a blockbuster contract. Currently, Clady is recovering from offseason shoulder surgery and the team has chosen to apply the Franchise Tag on Ryan. So Clady will almost surely stay in a Bronco uniform for the 2013 season. Meanwhile, life goes on and preparations for the future must be made.
There is more than one way to skin a cat. We know that adage to be true. If the Broncos are thinking ahead as I believe, they will be looking at possible replacements and upgrades for each position. Sometimes upgrades come in the form of a cheaper replacement and rookie contracts offer a solution to high priced veterans.
I present an understudy as one solution. His name is David Quessenberry and he is listed as a Tackle out of San Jose State. A 3-year Letterman for the Spartans, Quessenberry goes 6’5", 295 lbs. He is ranked 13th out of 158 Tackle prospects and 121st overall in the 2013 draft class. David’s pre-Combine 40 Time is listed as 5.18 seconds and he is projected as a 3rd-4th round selection in April.
#76 David Quessenberry
Graduated in December 2012 with a degree in History
Born: August 24, 1990 (22)
Arm Length-33 7/8"
Hand Length-10 1/2"
2nd Team All-WAC (2011)
1st Team All-WAC (2012)
A Walk-On at San Jose State in 2008, David played in 50 games for the Spartans and started 38 of them at Left Tackle.
2008: Spent the season as a Redshirt.
During the 2009 season, David played in all 12 games as a Reserve Offensive Tackle and extra Tight End He saw most of his action on Special Teams.
In 2010, Quessenberry became a mainstay at Left Tackle. He was one of six SJS players to start in all 13 games and one of two Offensive Linemen to start in every game. David also contributed on Special Teams as a Punt protector and Lineman on Field goal and Extra Point attempts. It was at this point that Davis was offered a full-time scholarship.
The 2011 season saw Quessenberry earn a 2nd-team All-WAC Offensive Lineman honor. He started all 12 games, one of eight Spartans to start in every contest and again one of two Offensive Linemen to start in every game.
As a senior in 2012, he was one of three finalists for the Burlsworth Trophy honoring the top Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) player that began his career as a non-scholarship player. Quessenberry played and started 12 games. He missed the Colorado State contest due to an injury, ending a 27-game streak of consecutive starts. One of four players named team captain for 2012. David played in the 2013 Senior Bowl as the very first San Jose State Offensive Lineman to play in a Senior Bowl.
SENIOR BOWL NOTES
Ranking a Senior Bowl lineman third really isn't a slight, especially considering how dominant Fisher and Johnson look. Quessenberry has been a surprise this week at guard and tackle, handling the pass rush all week. He's really a polished blocker with some good quickness. In my opinion he jumped past Oday Aboushi and Brian Winters in the rankings thanks to a crisp, consistent week. - Dave Richard, CBSSports.com
After polling NFL personnel men, CBS Sports' Rob Rang listed San Jose State OL David Quessenberry as a riser after Senior Bowl week.
Quessenberry is a former walk-on at the tight end position and showed promise at tackle, guard, and even backup snaps at center in Mobile. He is a bit light at 294 pounds, but Quessenberry held his own on counter power moves and was able to mirror with athletic footwork. Jan 26 - Source: CBS Sports
NFL.COM DRAFT GRADE-69.2
STRENGTHS: David has the arm length (33 7/8") to play the Blind side. He plays with low pad level and flashes the mean streak that goes with the position. He has the natural bend to do well in pass protection, both mirroring Ends while leveraging a strong punch and riding edge rushers around the pocket. Quessenberry plays under control and shows some agility and quickness in his pass set. The Spartans used him on Trap plays inside from the Left Tackle spot and he usually hits his Linebacker target. In short-yardage situations, he is able to drive off the snap and play with leverage. He’ll also hustle downfield after plays, taking out defenders standing around and cleaning up piles when necessary.
WEAKNESSES: Now for the not so good news. Quessenberry is a good, but not an exceptional athlete. Because of his average upper-body strength and thin legs, he can be susceptible to the Bull Rush, though he usually widens his base and plants to prevent it. He also leans into Defensive Ends to get leverage at times, allowing them to get him off-balance.
NFL COMPARISON: Doug Free
BOTTOM LINE: Quessenberry came into college at around 240 pounds and is near 300 now. He will need to gain more muscle in his upper-body and improve his leg strength to handle Defensive linemen, but he has an impressive overall skill set. David may could stay at Tackle in the Pros, but he might be a better fit as a Guard.
David Quessenberry vs BYU 2012
With a little muscle building, David Quessenberry could be an asset as a member of the Denver Broncos. Like most rookie NFL players, he will grow into his NFL body after a season with Strength and Conditioning coach Luke Richesson. Will he become as good a player as Ryan Clady? Only time can tell. But if the Broncos end up letting Clady walk in Free Agency, they should have a contingency plan in place. In the meantime, David Quessenberry could learn, grow and be a tremendous upgrade to Denver’s current sixth O-Lineman, Manny Ramirez.
Think about it, a 3rd/4th round draft pick salary for 4 years, or something along the lines of Joe Thomas’ 8 year-$92 Million contract with over $25 Million Guaranteed that Clady and his agent Pat Dye Jr. are looking for. Ryan has been injured the last two seasons, but he hasn’t missed a single game in that time either.
Personally, I am not advocating that the Broncos let Ryan Clady walk. I believe they should have offered him a 5 year, $60 Million deal with $28-30 Million in G-Jack last season. Now I think it will take more than that. Regardless, the Broncos have a need to fill on their O-Line and a guy like Quessenberry could help achieve that.
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